From the Head of College, Graham Leddie
This week we celebrated International Women’s Day in our Pre-School, Junior School and Senior School. To me the day is about celebrating women in our local context and also acknowledging women across the world. Pope Francis supports the day as a ‘celebration of the social, cultural, political and economic achievements of women’.
Our students were encouraged to acknowledge the multifaceted and significant roles women such as their Mums, Grandmothers, Sisters, Teachers, school Support Staff and others play in their lives and to be thankful for their care. It is about recognising the crucial and significant role women play in an all boys school environment and acknowledging that it is tougher in this context. In the broader context it is about acknowledging that no country in the world has achieved gender equality and that we witness too often violations of women’s rights, discrimination based on gender, and a lack of women’s representation in positions of power. International Women’s Day is a day where the world unites to call for a better, more gender equal world and for real change to gain momentum for women everywhere.
Our guest speaker at our inaugural International Women’s Day and College Leaders breakfast was Ms Kerry Chikarovski. Ms Chikarovski spoke of the many challenges that women face; such as one in five Australian women have experienced sexual violence and one in three women has experienced physical violence since the age of 15. The statistics certainly reminded me, as a father of a 14 year old daughter, that we have much work to do across our nation to educate young men – indeed all men – of their responsibilities and the positive steps they can take.
One of the many hats that Ms Chikarovski wears is Board Member and Ambassador for ‘Our WATCh’ which works towards ending violence against women and their children. Our WATCh is not currently supported by the NSW Government, but their work is funded in other states. Ms Chikarovski challenged us to join their campaign for NSW to fund their very important programs by writing to the NSW Premier.
The United Nations global theme for 2017 is ‘Empower a woman, empower a nation’, with the campaign theme of ‘Be Bold for Change.’ The campaign is encouraging effective action for accelerating gender parity, with statistics demonstrating that progress towards equality has recently slowed. We can all play a part in supporting these changes.
Teaching and Learning Beyond Borders
After three weeks at Waverley College we have farewelled Mr Bruno Cazzuli, who was visiting from Stella Maris College, Montevideo, an EREA school in Uruguay. Bruno made a significant impact on our Spanish language students, assisting in Spanish classes and sharing insights about Uruguayan culture. Our teaching staff were able to compare pedagogical practice and gain insight into another country’s learning strategies. My warm thanks go to Bruno for engaging so generously with our Waverley family.
We look forward to our next opportunity to embrace EREA’s ‘Beyond Borders’ program, which fosters international links between schools in the EREA network.
Amazing Goal and Support
Ned Wieland (Year 10) is attempting to swim the English Channel this year to raise funds for R U OK? and raise awareness of mental health issues for teenagers. He will start his swim on his 16th birthday and has until 28 July to complete the crossing. If Ned is successful, he will become the youngest Australian male to complete the swim. His House (Quinn) are aiming to swim the same length of the English Channel with Ned this Friday in the College pool (640 laps = 32km). You can support Ned in raising funds for RUOK? Day by clicking HERE.
Congratulations to Sam Hall (Year 10)
Sam recently competed in the Zone finals of the Catholic Schools Debating Association’s public speaking competition against 250 students from across Sydney. He has reached the top 40 and we wish him well this Friday as he competes again to try to make it into the top 13.
Good Luck to our CAS Champion water polo team who take on Newington College this Saturday. Newington are at the top of the GPS table along with Scots College and this game will be an exciting climax to an already successful season. Good luck to all our summer sport codes as they compete in the last game of their respective seasons.
I encourage parents and students to attend our inaugural Spirituality Evening in the Senior Library next Wednesday 15 March, 6.00pm to 8.30pm. The theme is “Religion. Why Bother?!” It is important in these times to understand ourselves and where we stand with issues of faith and belief. We are very privileged to welcome speakers Matt King (former NRL player, currently on the coaching staff for the Roosters), Br Robert O’Connor FMS, Fr Bernie Thomas (Mary Immaculate’s newly appointed Parish Priest) and Patricia Thomas (bereavement counsellor).
Maintain the Momentum
The boys have started the year very well, but just as we move over the halfway mark of the Term, it is vital to stay focused, positive and to check they are doing all the small things right; such as diet, hydration, family commitments, down time from technology, reflection time (preferably in nature/outdoors) and that they are also doing something for others.